Why We Build With Brick  book cover
1st Edition

Why We Build With Brick

  • Available for pre-order on June 9, 2023. Item will ship after June 30, 2023
ISBN 9781032159843
June 30, 2023 Forthcoming by Routledge
224 Pages 23 Color Illustrations

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USD $170.00

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Book Description

This book focuses on the contemporary fired clay brick to explore themes of home and house, home ownership, materiality and sense of place. It investigates why, despite an increasing number of alternative materials, brick remains at the forefront of what people in the UK in particular expect homes to be built of and how brick is indelibly intwined with what home means – materially stable and financially secure, affording a located sense of place. Through observation of the building process and interviews with bricklayers, foremen, planners, developers and homebuyers in England, Felicity Cannell traces the embedded meanings of a mundane, ubiquitous artefact, and reveals the tensions and contradictions in today’s use of brick to signify the traditional home. Although easing the planning process and leading to quick sales, the way brick is used in mass market housing today considerably restricts its capacities, notably decoration, flexibility and strength, the very qualities which have historically positioned this tremendously versatile material as the superlative building block. Overall the book adds complexity to the study of home and prompts debate about why we build the way we do.

Table of Contents


1 Building House as Home

2 A History of Bricks in the building of the English Home

3 The Craft and the Graft

4 Owning Home: homeownership and the brick-built house

5 Material meanings: the social life of brick in residential housing

6 A sense of place or a sense of space? How the brick maintains a ‘traditional’ vision of English suburban housing

7 Building with Brick: An Assemblage

Conclusion: Final Comments


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Felicity Cannell has a PhD in Geography from the University of Sheffield, UK. She has worked as a journalist and in higher education and is now predominantly a builder.